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“I’d rather have a cupboard full of herbs, than a closet full of heels”, says a popular Herb specialist. Herbs have many practical uses and because of this, they are highly favored by many. Herbs are usually small plants that are used for culinary and medicinal purposes although there are some herbs in use that come from trees and shrubs. The term herb or herbaceous plant refers only to the short-lived, non-woody plants even if they may bear seeds. Herbs are valued principally because of their aroma, flavor and medicinal property.

Herbs have been used by different cultures around the world for thousands of years. The pandemic also caused many to turn to herbs for healing. Ultimately, herbs and spices are an important part of our diet and our health.

Alatise Zainab Oluwatosin is a herbal practitioner, and healer. She is the founder and lead formulator of Ashabioge Herbal, a leading brand in the health and wellness industry in Nigeria.

The Ijebu Ode native obtained her national diploma from the prestigious Federal School of Statistics Ibadan campus.  After a personal health crisis in 2019, which led her to going back to her love of African herbs and roots, Zainab has been  committed to helping more people enjoy their life to the fullest using her tested and trusted 100% pure African herbs.

With her long family history of time tested and proven herbal formulations, which has been handed down for generations. Zainab is also currently enrolled in a world class institute for herbal formulations, in order to ensure that her brand meets with international best practices.

Ashabioge Herbal as a fast growing brand in the health and Sexual wellness industry has catered to people from all over the world, including but not limited to Dubai, the United Kingdom, Botswana, Canada, Chicago, Australia, Ghana, South Africa, and across the length and breadth of Nigeria with tangible results and accolades. The United Nations advocate for SDGs 3 – Good health and wellbeing, and 17- Partnership for the goals, shares her inspiring journey with Esther Ijewere in this exclusive interview.

Childhood Influence

Yes, I can say that my childhood prepared me for what I’m doing now.  I grew up with a large family, and I remember that a time, when I was about 6 or 7 years old, I fell sick for a long time, alongside 2 of my siblings.  We tried different options until my grandmother intervened and prepared something for us that was made from 100% herbs.

Since then, I have recommended that herb to different people, and it has worked for them everytime. That single incident made my family always resort to herbs which has been a huge blessing to us.

Ashabioge Herbal

I was inspired to start Ashabioge Herbal from the need to help others who were going through health challenges and were not seeing the results that they wanted. My desire is to help as many people as possible, improve their health, prevent needless health challenges and live a full and happy life with their loved ones.

Privilege of the herbal formulation passed down to me

Oh yes, I feel very humbled to have access to such wealth of health information that is helping people from all walks of life to live their life to the fullest in good health using 100% herbs from the African soil.

My products

Since 2018 when I officially started making herbal formulations, we have developed  10 products.  All our products are created  for one specific health challenge or the other. Few examples of our best seller formulations are; 1:Sabi men (for quick ejaculation, weak Erection, low Libido etc )2: Jedi ( for detoxification of excess sugar and toxins .)3: Herbal flusher (serves as general antibiotics for both male and female.) 4: hypertension tea ( The tea is formulated to cater for high blood pressure )

These products have sold in over 6 countries with hundreds of tangible results and testimonials from our esteemed customers.  This has made our customers free brand ambassadors who always recommend our products to their family and friends . Our vision at Ashabioge Herbal is to be a world class brand.

Institute of herbal formulations

In 2019, I actively started looking out for international training to help us realise our vision and the institute of Herbal Academy was recommended to me by a friend.  The aim of the institute I  is to help herbal formulators do better in formulation I am so happy that I went for the opportunity because our work has improved in the following areas; 1: Preservation, 2: Formulation  3: packaging

Challenges of my work

Logistics ( sending herbs to some countries from Nigeria is so difficult sometimes I have to first send to a particular country then move it from there to final destination this means I will get someone in the first country to collect for then send to final destination this is not free the person will charge me.Getting fresh herbs is so difficult too sometimes we have to use dried ones instead

Other projects and activities

Currently working on having some of my herbs in a capsule, tea bag and  hopefully our Jedi will be in CAN like a drink soon. Many people want to take herbs but they hate the bitter taste of some herbs so having such herbs in a capsule for people like that will be okay. Also many wants to drink there Jedi on the go that is why I will working JEDI soon

What I enjoy most about my job

Creating new recipe (I love it when I create new recipe for any health issues)

The women who Inspire me and why

My mum and my big sister Damilola Ewa. My mum has been so supportive even though at first she said must you do what your father does, why not get work with your certificate Tosin. People will fear you, this kind of business is not for a young woman like you and all sort but when she noticed I have not been going to hospital like I used to nor did I fall sick regularly like before she has been the one referring customers she taught me herbs her grandma thought her and her prayers has been working in my life and business

My sis Damilola, we met on Facebook she is a blessing despite being in the same business with me she kept showing me I have never seen a more beautiful soul than her and she is doing wonderfully well in the herbal industry too

To young women who want to go into the herbal business

They should get their formulation right and not just sell because everyone is selling herbs there is trend I noticed recently people sell because they see others selling which is very very wrong

Whatever business model you want to venture into, the first thing is to learn and research.

Changing the misconception and narrative about herbs

I use my platform to educate my audience on importance and uses of herbs I do advice them to also seek professional guidance not just use DIY (do it yourself) they see on the internet

What I wish to change In the Herbal sector

Make herbs accepted globally many people still believe herbs are not safe which is not true herbs is safe

Being a Woman of Rubies

I always look out for the girl child and educate the ones around on sex education I choose this topic because of what I have seen while growing up a lot of girls that we grew up together many young girls then under 17 got pregnant many of them did not even understand what sex is and the implications of having sex at a very tender age  .

Rubies Ink Initiative for Women and Children and Women of Rubies, put smiles on the faces of 100 seniors and vulnerable in Alimosho LGA and Makoko community with it’s Christmas Food Drive initiative. The project which was funded through the support of the public was a huge success.

The team went into the two communities to give food packages to the elderly in a bid to make them happy and feel loved.

Rubies Ink has been into advocacy, empowerment, and development projects since 2008, and runs multiple projects, empowerment workshops, trainings, campaigns, media advocacy, and women’s outreach programs centered around domestic violence, gender equality and women’s health.

They also organize the annual Walk against Rape campaign , celebrated over 1000 exceptional women through their womenofrubies.com platform, and raise funds online  for women and children in urgent need of medical and other support.

Speaking about the Christmas food drive for the aged, the founder of Rubies Ink, Esther Ijewere said;

“Old age is a blessing, we need to continuously make our seniors feel loved and appreciated. The pandemic has taught us to live in the moment and be intentionally kind, that’s one of the reasons we supported our seniors this festive season, In our bid to spread love and light. We appreciate our donors for their unwavering and continuous support over the years.”

The Project Coordinator, Michelle Inegbese said;

“This is what we love to do, supporting those in need, and putting smiles on faces. Our seniors deserve that and much more. We hope to do this more often”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can see more of Rubies Ink work on rubiesink.org and womenofrubies.com, and follow their social media handles; Facebook- Rubies Ink Initiative for Women and Children, Women of Rubies, Walkagainstrape. Instagram; @rubiesink, @womenofrubiesng, @walkagainstrape.Twitter; @rubiesinkng @womenofrubies and @walkagainstrape.

The federal government as part of its conditional cash transfer programme (CCT) has started the payment of N1.6 billion to 167,000 poor and vulnerable women in Jigawa.

The CCT programme requires that beneficiaries meet certain criteria like enrolling their children in public schools and getting regular check-ups at the hospital.

Mustafa Yakubu, the Training and Communication Officer, State Cash Transfer Unit (SCTU), made this known to journalists on Saturday in Kiyawa, Jigawa State.

Speaking after monitoring the exercise at Andaza and Shuwarin villages of Kiyawa LGA, he said the funds were disbursed to beneficiaries via Fund and Electronic Transfer Solution (FETS Wallet) engaged by the National Cash Transfer Office.

He explained that the payment was for the months of May and June and that each beneficiary got N10,000.

“In Jigawa, we have not less than 167,000 beneficiaries in the 27 local government areas. For all components of the programme, we are paying not less than N1.6 billion every two months,” Mr Yakubu said.

He said there was a need for the process to be more ICT-savvy, adding, “The application of ICT will remove the need for beneficiaries to gather in one place to collect the money.

“This will help in curtailing insecurity issues surrounding the process and help the financial education of the beneficiaries.

“Higher deployment of ICT will also help other business activities like the POS service and the observance of social distancing protocol of COVID-19,” he said.

According to him, SCTU also conducts coaching and mentoring for the beneficiaries on how best to utilise the money, particularly in investments.

“Some beneficiaries are already into one petty business or the other. So we train and advise them on how best to use the money in their businesses and trades.

“Some of them formed cap-making groups, some formed cooperative groups, while others engage in small scale businesses,” Mr Yakubu added.

(NAN)

Stephanie Obi is popularly referred to as the Queen of Online Courses, as she helps women entrepreneurs create, launch and sell online courses. She has an online business school, Steph B-School, that teaches women entrepreneurs how to get more customers online.


Growing up, all the women entrepreneurs she saw owned mom and pop shops. They never grew to be CEOs of big companies and so Stephanie didn’t even know that women could be CEOs. It was not on the cards for her and she thought the best she could be was to rise up the career ladder in a good job, get married, have children and be satisfied.

Her perception started to change when she started to see other women who were mothers and wives and had founded successful businesses. She started to see that it was possible for her. What made their stories so profound was that they were just like her. African Women.

Representation matters. If young girls see other women who look and sound like them founding companies, it helps to build a pipeline of women founders.

This for Stephanie, is why she believes that the biggest hindrance to women founding companies is the lack of representation. If women see women who are just like them founding companies, they will be inspired to start.

To empower women to become founders, Stephanie’s company has helped thousands of women to start an online course business using their different training programs.

In the course of the trainings, she also noticed that a lot of women were not tech inclined and this stopped them from really growing. In order to resolve this challenge, they built an easy to use online business platform, TrainQuarters which makes it easy for women to create and sell all their training products online.

Stephanie believes that female entrepreneurship will go a long way to alleviate the effect of poverty in African households. With more disposable income in the household, children can be exposed to more opportunities.

Stephanie is particular about women empowerment because she believes that when women are empowered, communities become empowered.

She also believes that there are problems that women are in a better position to solve just because of their feminine nature. If women become founders, they will be able to contribute their innovative ideas to solving problems that society has.

Stephanie mentioned practical ways that women can be empowered and in her own words, “One powerful way to empower more women to become women founders is just by showcasing the stories of diverse women entrepreneurs from different backgrounds. Women should be exposed to more female founders as they grow up, and as much as possible, entrepreneurship should be a part of the curriculum in schools.”

“Access to funding will help a lot of women to become founders however a lot of women struggle to access the available funds because they cannot pitch themselves. There should be training programs focused on teaching women how to pitch and to access funds. It will also help if women can become investors because investors tend to invest in people who look like them.”

Through her website, www.stephanieobi.com, she has reached over 82,000 people in over 10 countries.

She has also been recognised as one of the 100 most inspiring women in Nigeria, and won First Prize at the Wimbiz Impact Investment Competition.

To fill up key tech roles with the right people, it takes a company an average of 3 months. This is because the process is hectic, delicate, and time-consuming, and if not properly done, can lead to a poor hire, waste of time, and productivity.

The war for hiring new talents is real, companies struggle with where to find quality tech talent and the challenge of long time-to-hire, this is where CodeLn comes in.

CodeLn is a software company that helps companies seamlessly find, test, and hire skilled African tech talent i.e Software Engineers, UI/UX Designers, Data Scientists, etc.
They have a technology that automates the entire tech recruitment process; recruiters can post jobs, get matched with candidates on the talent marketplace, manage applications using an integrated applicant tracking system and also test the coding skills of applicants using an in-built assessment platform.

With CodeLn, your ideal dev is just a click away!

In 2016, Elohor Thomas, the brain behind CodeLn, facilitated a tech training program organized by the government and a top tech company. The purpose of this program was to train graduates on software development during a 3-month intensive boot camp and match all of them with employment afterward.
At the end of the boot camp, they had over 70% success, and candidates moved from tech novice to full-stack engineers in the shortest time. Their drive was mostly their desire to learn and the promise of a job from the government.  Sadly, only less than 3% of them were connected to jobs and it was mostly those who had connections in the government (“man-know-man” as it is commonly known). The candidates came back to Elohor, complaining bitterly that the government did not deliver on their promise to provide them jobs. She felt bad because there was nothing she could do to help them at the time.

Elohor Thomas started CodeLn because as an engineer, she knew that learning to code can be quite a journey and she believes that anyone that succeeds should be rewarded with their dream job.

CodeLn is addressing a niche market and their expertise to tackle the needs of this market sets them apart from other competitors. For them, it is really about their commitment to impact and solve the problem of both their users – programmers and recruiters. This has made them attractive to even notable clients and partners abroad which include Wikipedia, Microsoft, IBM, Digital Ocean, Cloudinary, to mention a few.

CodeLn is a 50% female-founded team of 4 engineers from 3 African Countries. Elohor prides in diversity ad their greatest asset as the team comprises of a Nigerian, two Kenyans and one from Ivory Coast.

They have physical offices in Ghana and Nigeria and a database of over 9000 African tech talent.

Elohor’s entrepreneurial drive runs deep in her gene. She always had the zeal to do her own thing, she ran a business of hers for over 2 years in the university. After graduation, she, went into employment to learn how to run a business from others because she believes anyone that wants to lead must first learn to serve. She passed through a corporate firm, institutions, and startups. After that, she decided it was time to start her own. Her co-founders and her kicked off CodeLn sometime in 2017.

“It is our vision to become the global go-to marketplace for finding skilled African Programmers. I always say that there is only one global language and that is “programming language”. I believe that software engineers are not limited by borders and our engineers in African can compete with their counterparts anywhere in the world -engineers without borders.” she said.

Describing her greatest fulfilment as a techpreneur, Elohor says it is “direct impact”, running her own business gives her access to directly influence decisions and take risks that would lead to measurable impact. Something she did not get during her time as an employee. In her words, “because I understand the mission of my company and I am passionate about what I am doing, I am excited to stay up late till 3 a.m working on strategies to ensure that I get the right impact and result that the business needs.”

This is why she can boldly say to anyone who has an idea in them but are afraid to begin small. If you are that person, Elohor says ““start already”. As they say, “not taking a risk is a risk on its own”. So take the risk of starting, learn, iterate and if it is not working, do not be afraid to pivot. Remember, a business only becomes what you want it to become with the right execution.’

Let these words be your drive as you launch into the new week.

Take that risk.
Bet on yourself.
Start already!

Information is power, equip yourself with all the necessary knowledge needed to grow your brand. Develop yourself, know your strengths and weaknesses, focus on your strengths and work on your weaknesses. While you work on your weaknesses, employ capable people to fill in those positions where you consider your weakness. You honestly can’t be everything to your business. For instance, if your strength lies in customer relationship and PR service and you have little or no sewing skills, Focus on your customer relationship and PR skills and work on your sewing skills. This way, the business does not suffer and your skills are effectively and efficiently utilized. — Eki Okubanjo.

Eki Oris is a fashion company that specializes in both custom made and ready to wear (RTW) clothing for the fashion-conscious woman who appreciates finely constructed pieces of impeccable quality, targeted at females 15 years and above. Eki Oris designs are influenced by simplicity, individuality and comfort of their customers.
The Eki Oris Kidswear is a clothing and accessories brand for kids (male & female) aged 0 months – 12 years. It’s a bespoke & ready-to-wear brand which has found its niche in using unique African prints and other fabrics to tailor exquisite and comfortable outfits for children.

Eki worked full time in a private company as the customer relationship manager and also did a bit of business development. During this time she was running the Eki Oris brand as a side hustle. She wore her designs to the office and got a lot of pleasing comments. She made pieces for some of her colleagues and got lots of referrals through them.
In her quest for more, she decided to quite her 9-5 job and give her fashion business the time it requires.

The Eki Oris brand has successfully maintained its integrity over four years by putting customers first, keeping to deadlines, being dependable and also giving out quality products and services. These are some of the things that make the Eki Oris brand special.

I understand the importance of having a conducive and happy working environment for your staff, because once your staff are happy and comfortable, they’ll definitely deliver their best and I have implemented this principle into my business.

Eki Okubanjo learned the basics of fashion designing from her mother who had a tailoring shop while growing up. She launched “Prints by Kira and Eki” with her friend during their National Youth Service (NYSC) year but they parted ways.

Eki Oris was founded in 2015 as a home-based business, and also a side hustle which she ran alongside her corporate job.
In July 2017 she resigned from her corporate job to focus on her business. She had saved up some money, and got some funds from her dad and boyfriend (now husband) to set up.

In her own words, “I had no prior knowledge of running a business, I didn’t know how to calculate my cost, the overheads were a lot, I didn’t know the best salary method to use for paying my tailors. I made mistakes with designs, fabric etc and I have had to refund money back to some customers, but all these experiences helped shape me into becoming a better fashion entrepreneur. Having worked in a corporate environment before venturing into full time entrepreneurship, I have also brought in a lot of knowledge I learnt while I was with my previous employer into my business. I, more than anyone understand the importance of customer management. I brought in my negotiation skills, marketing skills etc into my business and I understand how important it is for a business to keep their business data as this is what will help you make better decisions. I have implemented all of this in my business.  In retrospect, when I think of my entrepreneurial journey, I’m honestly glad for how far I have grown. I have learnt from all my mistakes, challenges and also my customers. Experience is something that cannot be bought and my experiences so far have helped me put in proper structures and policies in place that are currently helping my business.”

As an entrepreneur, Eki finds the most satisfaction in IMPACTING lives. She loves that she is able to impact lives through beautiful clothes. An Eki Oris woman is bold, and confident and I love that my designs automatically instil confidence in my customers. An Eki Oris woman goes about her daily activities with her head up and ready to conquer the world because she’s confident in herself.
“I also love that I can positively impact the lives of my staff through the jobs I have provided for them, they in turn can impact their own lives and fend for their families.”

There’s no better time to start than now! Just start. You don’t have to wait till you have everything sorted out to start your business, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Don’t rush the process as well, allow yourself to grow and learn and celebrate the small wins.

Eki Okubanjo sums up all her experiences, including successes and failures in this powerful piece of advice: Importantly information is power, equip yourself with all the necessary knowledge needed to grow your brand. Develop yourself, know your strengths and weaknesses, focus on your strengths and work on your weaknesses. While you work on your weaknesses, employ capable people to fill in those positions where you consider your weakness. You honestly can’t be everything to your business. For instance, if your strength lies in customer relationship and PR service and you have little or no sewing skills, Focus on your customer relationship and PR skills and work on your sewing skills. This way, the business does not suffer and your skills are effectively and efficiently utilized. Also, you honestly need a trailer load of patience and hard work to survive in the fashion industry. Finally, please always remember the God factor. Always pray to him for wisdom to help you run your business, pray for your staff and also your customers.

The challenges facing many women in Africa of how to manage and care for their natural hair is one that entrepreneur Farida Yahya is all too familiar with. It was the inspiration for the launch of her business Lumo Naturals, which today creates a range of specialist hair products that both cleanse and treat the hair gently. Today, the brand is winning scores of fans who are looking for a natural solution for their natural hair.

Lumo Naturals is an award-winning haircare solutions brand. With over 6 years in operation and a team of professional hair consultants and stylists, they offer a wide range of hair services and products. They provide quality hair services, along with top lines of our well formulated natural hair products.

As a naturalista, growing up, Farida saw her mother try to tame her hair with tons of relaxers. Farida’s mother tried various products and used tons of strategies but none ever worked. And just like other natural hair owners, she had problems with her own hair ranging from breakage to dry hair, breaking the piggy bank to get premium products to maintain the hair, as well as shrinkage. Additionally, Farida would spend so much time watching tons of videos on YouTube and natural hair blogs looking for tips and inspirations. In 2008, Farida resorted to making DIY products for her hair because there were no big shops that sold natural hair care products in her location. Interestingly, her experiments worked and people began to buy them.

As a female founder, you should never feel pressured to “lead like the boys”. There is nothing wrong in leading with empathy, and you should know that the world of entrepreneurship is tough, and so, don’t demand things from the angle of a victim, instead work hard and smart enough to have those doors open for you. When you do succeed, look back and lift others, mentorship and support is crucial for female founders, if we want to go far, and build the mass we need to change things for good. — Farida Yahya.

Lumo Naturals was birthed in 2012. It started with the production of the first set of natural hair care products – hair butter. And with Farida’s over nine years of experience in biochemistry and a diverse range of complementary skill sets, she has been able to create an extensive offering of affordable natural hair care products designed to benefit naturalistas.


For Farida, running her own business has pushed her to grow. Being responsible for her team and customers has challenged her to learn about how money works, what is required from a leader, and why it is important to deliver quality service consistently.
Farida says she is happiest when she solves a client’s hair challenge, and when she gets feedback about their formulations. In her words, “it gives me such a thrill to know that I am doing my quota to help make the world a better place, and reduce social inequalities.”

Lumo Naturals fill a unique niche in the beauty space. Their product line includes everything from hair cleansers to hair treatments and hair scrums, with a focus on multi-functional products. Additionally, all their products showcase clean, locally sourced ingredients that are cruelty-free, animal-free, and free of harmful irritants and additions such as parabens, benzene, and formaldehyde.

Empower a woman and you have empowered a whole community. Ubong Agina understands this so well which is why she has built a successful fashion training school centered around empowering women and helping them fulfill their potentials.

The entrepreneurial journey is not easy; it requires a large heart. However, as challenging as it may be, just as a child’s first attempts at walking, success is sure with clear focus, consistency and the ability to manage changes.

Agina was inspired to launch her fashion design and training school business, respectively for a couple of reasons.
The first being a love for African fabrics and the fashionable beauty of local, well-made designs relative to foreign brands. The second being a deep love for teaching/training.
When Agina ventured into couture, fashion designing and creation, she found a vast opportunity for capacity building and empowerment among fellow African women. So, she expanded to also establish a fashion training school.

Nubeeka Couture, an arm of Nubeeka Concepts, is a creative fashion designing private enterprise founded with the mission to promote African beauty, art and style through creative and innovative garment fashion designing. They are committed to women empowerment through training and through their own fashion school.

Their range of products includes various female apparel such as corporate-wear, semi-formal and casual dresses, gowns, jackets, skirts and tops, and shirts, all of which we produce as bespoke designs, as well as small to large scale ready-to-wear (RTW) designs.


Ubong Agina’s entrepreneurial journey started from her childhood. In her own words, “coming from a meagre background, my entrepreneurial journey started as an arduous uphill task and my main anchor was my passion to drive my mission. After acquiring the necessary basic and advanced academic, as well as fashion design skills, I started my fashion making business in the comfort of my home for the first several months. When customer satisfaction incrementally drove patronage beyond what I can manage in my home, I took the bold but fretful step and I officially launched my business, with the inclusion of the training school.”

Her biggest fulfilment as a fashion entrepreneur and trainer comes from her customer satisfaction, together with their kind and encouraging feedback and referrals.

Ubong Agina’s final words on entrepreneurship is this, “the entrepreneurial journey is not easy; it requires a large heart. However, as challenging as it may be, just as a child’s first attempts at walking, success is sure with clear focus, consistency and the ability to manage changes.”

 

ORÍKÌ Group is a wellness and personal grooming brand that is the first and only company in Nigeria to operate a luxury spa chain coupled with its own farm to skin product range.

They utilize the most, efficient & potent natural ingredients from Africa. ORÍKÌ Group comprises of a multi-channel spa, farm to skin retail product company and a wholesale & amenity product line for spa’s, hotels, and airlines.
They are a fast growing organization having developed/operated six spas, retail stores and created distribution channels across Nigeria and in three countries.

Their mission is to leave a piece of Africa with consumers around the world by creating farm to skin products, wellness centers, empowering farming ecosystems and instilling ‘skinfidence.’

Joycee was intrigued by natural ingredients and their potency as a young girl. The more she experimented; skin and hair became her weapon of choice for self-expression – a way to experiment with raw materials and resources – and it powered a journey that led her back to her roots on the continent of Africa, specifically Nigeria, and that propelled the creation of ORÍKÌ. After years of experimenting with all types of natural ingredients, at one point creating a mini lab in a home setting, testing and experimenting with diverse materials from activated charcoal to wild berries and ingredients in between.

Joycee wanted others to experience the potency of natural ingredients. Seeing a void in the industry and a depiction and narration of Africa as being helpless and lacking, she launched a personal grooming brand “inspired by nature and crowned with opulence,” focusing on a wide range of raw materials and ingredients for all skin types, creating formulas that work for all depending on skin type and concern.

Her goal as a business owner is to expand into more and more communities, giving more people the opportunity to make wellness a lifestyle.
The ORIKI Team is diverse and they all bring their unique strengths to the table. Everyone’s voice matters and everyone’s suggestions and comments are welcome.

Joycee developed a love for entrepreneurship at a young age as she had keen interest in solving problems and monetizing opportunities. She started a babysitters club when she was younger, a candy store out of my locker, she made accessories and much more as a child. Her father was also an entrepreneur and she used to enjoy visiting his office and learning about what he did, it definitely left an impression and fueled her passion.

ORIKI is scaling and expanding and bringing more ORIKI locations to more communities; they are currently working on 3 other locations as well as launching a new farm to skin product line and a new haircare line. In 2020 they were able to scale two of their service offerings – Our Spa at Home services have provided hundreds of homes the opportunity to have spa services in the safety and comfort of their home.

For Joycee, making an impact as an entrepreneur is of utmost importance to her.

Joycee’s personal piece of advice to everyone is to partner with God. In her words, “I have seen my business transform as I said NO to fear and instead gained confidence by trusting in God through every season and allowing him steer the ship and lead my efforts. I’ve come to realize that obstacles and challenges are inevitable but I no longer let the struggles consume me because I have faith that the company would be victorious.”

Chika got her footwear making skills during the annual mandatory National Youth Service Program in 2012. She has since used her work at NCR Design Shoemaking School to improve the lives of women and youths in Nigeria by enabling them to produce and export standard footwear products through training, job matching opportunities, mentoring, and access to quality and affordable raw materials.

In 2017, Chika participated in the YouWin (Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria) scheme, an initiative that finances outstanding business plans for the young, aspiring entrepreneurs in Nigeria. In 2019, she emerged among the top 100 semi-finalists in the Access Bank Womenpreneur pitch-a-ton competition. In 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a lockdown and restriction of movements and social distancing, as well as an economic recession that resulted in loss of jobs, hunger and insecurity, Chika took to training 36 students (2 students each month) in the art of footwear making for free. She organized virtual meetings to speak on the importance of vocational skills and handiwork in these days of uncertainty when nothing is sure, with regards to securing a good job.

Chika also recently got shortlisted as one of the top 20 female entrepreneurs to participate in the She Leads Africa High Growth Coaching program. She is a member of the Bell-Africana community, YALI West Africa, She Leads Africa, and currently signed up for Female & More Africa in collaboration with Ford Foundation.  Her designs have been featured in publications, and have been worn and commended by reputable icons.

Since the incorporation of NCR Design in 2018, Chika has through the business provided the needed skills that have pulled 1000 beneficiaries of the footwear making programs out of poverty and given them a new lease of life. Chika is working towards expanding the business to accommodate varieties of courses to enable the participants to opt for the one that suits them best.

What inspires Chika the most is her desire to help others by using her business to provide jobs for those with special needs. All I have ever wanted to do in my life is to help people especially women who do not even know why they are suffering, who are denied access to quality of life, who are willing to work to get those two pieces of bread for themselves and their families, who should not suffer.
She draws inspiration from the hardships of these people, to work her way out somewhere through which she can really help them.

They provide students with enough training skills and support that will enable them to establish a career in small and medium size businesses. NCR Design provides mentorship and internship opportunities, free accommodation and makes its training facility, tools, and equipment available to students who completed their training in the school.

Chika does not come from an entrepreneurial background, and her parents are disappointed chose Shoemaking over Medicine, Engineering, Law etc. In her own words, “I wanted to create value with something that I was passionate about. I have always loved shoes but became increasingly interested in shoes when I joined shoemaking CDS group during my days as a Youth Corp member in 2012. I started to dig deep into the art of shoemaking, read about master shoemakers, the business of shoemaking, its rewards, the challenges, and opportunities… just everything about it. It was fascinating to say the least. It had never occurred to me that I could make a living out of it because interestingly, I am a graduate of Soil Science so academically, nothing really linked to the career I have now. But growing up I loved making things. I loved art. I loved creating, but somehow had forgotten about it during my years as a student. My joining the shoemaking CDS group made me remember how much I loved crafts.”

What gives Chika the most satisfaction as an entrepreneur is knowing that she is contributing to something larger than herself. That I am solving problems and bringing a product and service to the world that people need.

Chika says to young women, “You can be anything and everything you set your mind to, with the right amount of ambition, commitment, dedication and of course, hard work – you will do it. First things first, you need to realize what that best version of yourself looks like. What does this woman look like to you? Who is she? What does she do? Did she build a business from the ground up? Or is she an amazing advocate for female empowerment? There are certain questions you must ask yourself to get to know yourself. Figure out her traits and see how many of them you have yourself. Chances are, you have a lot more in common than you may have originally thought. The only differences might be that this woman is recognized for her work and gets to do it on a larger scale. That is how you need to figure out how you can take the next step.It is all about your mindsets and reprogramming your mind for success. The women we admire and look up to and aspire to be all each have different mindsets.”